Understanding headache from an ophthalmologists perspective
Updated: Dec 6, 2022
Headache is one of the most common symptoms faced by individuals of all age groups starting from young children up to senior citizens. It's a very challenging situation even for the physician because a headache can be the result of a very trivial problem like lack of sleep or it can be due to a hidden tumour in the brain. If one were to search the internet, the most serious and dreadful causes appear first, leaving the person scared and anxious.
Understanding the headache:
Here are some very simple guidelines to understand your headache and make a decision of visiting an eye doctor.
Time of the day - If a headache appears early morning, it's mostly due to an inflammation or infection in the paranasal sinuses. If the headache appears evenings, it could be due to dehydration, digital eye strain and ocular fatigue.
In Women- Suppose the headache is associated with menstrual cycles in women, it's a PMS syndrome.
Children- If the headache appears in children, it's due to dehydration, constipation, and uncorrected refractive power (spectacle power).
Vascular- If the headache is associated with a vomiting sensation, flashes of light in front of the eye, and sound in ears, and it is of a pounding type, it mostly indicates a vascular headache or migraine.
Infectious- If there is also forceful vomiting, and pain in the neck with or without fever it can be meningitis (a brain infection).
Other types: Apart from this, there are headaches due to dental conditions, neurological conditions, side effects of medicines, hypertension, etc.
Very specific eye conditions causing headaches are:
1. Uncorrected spectacle powers
2. Convergence insufficiency
3. Digital eye strain or computer vision syndrome
4. Glaucoma (high pressure in the eyes)
Therefore it is mandatory to get your eyes evaluated in case there is a headache.
This might be the first and the best thing to do, many times as a detailed eye evaluation by an ophthalmologist and a retina evaluation can pick up serious conditions like hypertension or raised pressure in the brain.
So next time you have a headache, visit your eye doctor before you visit the internet.
Dr. Jayashree Bhat